DUBLIN, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Irish finance minister Michael Noonan and spending minister Brendan Howlin presented the country's sixth austerity budget in little over four years on Wednesday.
Following are the highlights from their speeches:
'Based on the latest information my department now projects that the general government deficit for this year will be 8.2 percent, comfortably inside the required target of 8.6 percent under the excessive deficit procedure.'
'The projected deficits for 2013 to 2015 are 7.5 percent, 5.1 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively, all in line with the targets we have to achieve.'
'These deficit projections are based on projected economic growth for GDP in 2013 of 1.5 percent, rising to 2.5 percent in 2014 and 2.9 percent in 2015.'
'With effect from midnight on Wednesday, excise duty on a pint of beer or cider is being increased by 10 cent, on a standard measure of spirits by 10 cent and on a 75cl bottle of wine by 1 euro.'
'With effect from midnight on Wednesday, the price of 20 cigarettes will increase by 10 cents and roll-your-own tobacco will increase by 50 cents per 25 gram pack.'
FUTURE TAX HIKES
'When this budget is implemented, most of the tax consolidation committed to by this government will have been completed, and even though the revenue target for 2014 is 1.1 billion euros the carry-over effect of Wednesday's measures reduces this to about 500 million euros or so.'
'In 2015 the carry-over effects will reduce the programme target of 700 million euros to a similar level.'
'Retaining Ireland's competitiveness for mobile foreign investment remains a central plank of this government's export-led recovery strategy for Ireland. The government remains 100 percent committed to maintaining the 12.5 percent corporation tax rate.'
'The economy grew last year and will grow again this year and next year. There are manifest signs that the country is emerging from the worst of the crisis and that the efforts of the Irish people, despite the hardship, are leading to success.'
'We will continue to fulfil the conditions of the bailout programme, we will carefully plan full market return, we will build on the strong sectors of the economy and repair the weak sectors until they are strong again. We will grow the economy and create the jobs for which so many out of work and so many young people yearn.'
'The first measure of success is whether the bailout programme is being fulfilled. Well, it is: Ireland has fulfilled 160 separate conditions of the programme, and has now drawn down over 80 percent of the low cost money available under the programme.'
RETURN TO MARKETS
'If a return to the markets is the measure of success I am confident that we will achieve this objective but as yet it is 'work in progress'.'
SMALL, MIDSIZE ENTERPRISE GROWTH
'I am aware that the operating environment in the domestic economy remains difficult, particularly for small and medium enterprises. To give this critical sector a helping hand, I am bringing forward a 10 Point Tax Reform Plan.'
'This year has seen the first signs of stability in both the residential and commercial property markets in six years.'
'In order to maintain momentum in the domestic property market, I am providing an exemption from the new Local Property Tax up to the end of 2016 for any new or previously unoccupied homes bought in that period, and in addition, purchases of any homes in 2013 by first-time buyers will also be exempt for the same period.
'This exemption for three years from the Local Property Tax will also apply to residences in unfinished estates.'
'The Local Property Tax will commence with effect from the July 1 , 2013, for the second half of the year.'
'Properties valued over 1 million euros will be liable at 0.18 percent on the first 1 million euros and at 0.25 percent on the balance, with no banding applied.'
'The Pension Levy announced as part of the Jobs Initiative will not be renewed after 2014.'
'Tax relief on pension contributions will only serve to subsidise pension schemes that deliver income of up to 60,000 euros per annum. This will take effect from Jan 1, 2014.'
'Tax relief on pension contributions will continue at the marginal rate of tax.'
'The government continues to implement the commitments of maintaining the current rates of income tax together with bands and credits and not increasing the top marginal rates of taxes on income.'
(Compiled by Stephen Mangan) Keywords: IRELAND BUDGET/
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